A Temple Hills man was convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 16-year-old Prince George’s County high school student — one of several teens killed during a spate of violence in the county early last year.
A jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding Akil Darnell Ings, 18, guilty in the January 2013 slaying of Marcus Antonio Jones. Authorities said they think Jones, who attended Friendly High School, and Ings were members of rival gangs and got into a dispute outside a birthday party at a Fort Washington home.
Ings, dressed in a black sweater and white oxford shirt, barely reacted, shaking his head as the jury walked out after announcing its verdict. Other members of Ings’s family were more dramatic. One man ran out of the courtroom yelling a profanity. A woman quickly followed behind and wailed in the halls.
State prosecutors and witnesses said that Ings was hanging out in a car outside the party, drinking tequila and smoking marijuana with four friends before joining a crowd outside the house. After about 10 minutes, shots rang out, Ings ran back to the car and Jones was bleeding to death, prosecutors said.
“ ‘I think I got one,’ ” at least two witnesses with Ings recalled him saying as he ran back to the car and left the party.
Assistant State’s Attorney Dorothy Engel said Ings knew he was responsible for Jones’s slaying.
“Who gets in the back of a car and says ‘I think I got one’ ” if they don’t know what they did, Engel asked the jury during closing arguments.
Police said they think Ings belonged to a gang known as Baby Haiti and that Jones belonged to a rival group called the Danger Boys.
Jones’s family filled the courtroom. His mother shook her head and wiped tears from her face as witnesses recounted the night her son collapsed on the street and died after being shot. She declined to comment after the verdict was announced.
Ings’s attorney, Michael Barnett, argued that state prosecutors did not offer enough physical evidence to link his client to Jones’s death. The bullets recovered at the scene did not have blood. And the only person who saw Ings with a gun was his ex-girlfriend, who didn’t see Jones get shot, Barnett said.
“Based of the evidence, the fair decision is to find him not guilty,” Barnett said.
Ings’s ex-girlfriend and another girl in the car with him the night of the party testified that they met Ings in the days following the shooting. He was worried about the incident and said “the weakest link” needed to be eliminated, ex-girlfriend Kimani Newby testified.
That link was Kquantae M. Fisher, prosecutors and witnesses said. Fisher was at the party with Ings the night of Jones’s death. Fisher was set to testify in Ings’s trial but was shot to death in his home in September. Police have not filed charges in Fisher’s death and are investigating motives.
“If he didn’t do it, why is he so worried about snitching?” Engel asked about Ings’s concern with the “weakest link.”
This is the second Prince George’s trial in recent weeks involving a witness shot to death before he could testify in court.
Barnett said Ings and his family are disappointed with the guilty verdict, even though there is some relief that the jury found his client not guilty of a first-degree murder charge, which could have committed him to life in prison.
“Obviously, it’s a sad day for both parties and both mothers,” Barnett said. “There’s really no winners in this one.”